Long battle for post box return is over

Peter Brown shows off the recently replaced post box in fenstead End. ANL-151125-120411001

Peter Brown shows off the recently replaced post box in fenstead End. ANL-151125-120411001

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A hamlet has finally had its post box returned after residents campaigned but it is afraid it may still lose the box due to its small population.

Fenstead End, one-and-a-half miles from Boxted and nearly three miles from Glemsford, sits on top of rolling hills, with just a few properties and a handful of residents.

You would be forgiven for not knowing it, even ‘Google Maps’ is unsure it exists.

But that does not mean the people who live there are less deserving of a regular postal service, insists life-long resident Peter Brown.

After the post box, a 15 minute walk from Mr Brown’s house, fell off the gate post where it is fixed, over two months ago, residents assumed it would be promptly put back.

But it has taken a frustrating battle to see the box returned, with fears it could soon be gone for good.

“I have been told that we have won the battle but not the war and that unless we have a high usage we could lose it,” said the 72-year-old.

“Fenstead End is a small hamlet. It consists of 10 properties and has 13 adults, three children and three students.

“How we can have a high volume of postage?”

Mr Brown said the post box was vital for residents, many of whom are old and unable to drive to the nearest villages.

He has his own idea of how to make savings.

Currently there are deliveries once a day Monday to Friday, as well as a separate collection. He has suggested that the daily system should be the same as on Saturdays, when the delivery is carried out at the same time as the collection.

“It’s so easy,” he said, promising that he would not let the matter go if the post box was threatened with removal.

Royal Mail insisted it is not looking to remove post boxes.

Ronit Wolfson, Royal Mail spokeswoman, said: “Royal Mail has no plans to remove postboxes based on the volume of letters posted in them.

“Royal Mail recognises the importance of postboxes to its customers across the UK, especially those in rural areas.”

Erected during George VI’s reign, the box was collected by Royal Mail for safe keeping after falling from the gate.

But after the box was not returned, Mr Brown started making enquiries and complaints, but never received a response.

It was only after Suffolk county councillor Richard Kemp heard of the situation at the hamlet’s parish meeting that there was sudden action.

Mr Kemp sent a questioning email to Grant Greetham, in charge of post boxes in the region, forwarded to South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge.

The result was a swift apology from Mr Greetham and the return of the post box.